Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Integrating Nutrition into Rural Advisory Services and Extension

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS)
Date Published: 
August 15, 2015
There is a heightened awareness globally and within development institutions and governments of the need to better understand the links between agriculture and nutrition, and to decipher the ways in which the agriculture sector can contribute to improved nutrition. The ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of effectively delivering ‘nutritionsensitive agriculture’ (1) services to rural households remain even less understood.

Extension workers through public, private, and nongovernment organisation (NGO) channels are often thought of as a promising platform or vehicle for the delivery of nutrition knowledge and practices to improve the nutritional health of rural communities because they reach and interact closely with farmers in different settings. They act as significant service providers of crop, livestock, and forestry aspects of food security, consumption, and production.

Nutrition concepts were first introduced into the training of extension personnel for rural development projects in the 1960s. During those early stages, the general consensus was that to have an impact on nutrition, the agriculture sector would need to expand beyond its sole focus on food production, and incorporate food consumption as well. For this to succeed, a key step was to improve extension agents’ understanding of nutrition-related concepts, as the prevailing low levels of training did not equip them with the tools necessary to recognise the causes and consequences of malnutrition.

This is Note #9 in a series under the GFRAS Global Good Practice Initiative.